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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

The Contribution to Islam                   353
I stood in silent ecstasy,
Revealing that which o'er my spirit went and came.
Lo! in His face commingled
Is every charm and grace;
The whole of Beauty singled
Into a perfect face
Beholding Him would cry,
'There is no God but He, and He is the most High!'
The fame of another religious poet of Egypt, al-Busiri
(b. 1213), is even more widespread, though resting on a far more
slender foundation, a single poem of 165 verses: his *Ode of the
Mantle' (Qandat al-Burda), a panegyric of the Prophet, is
generally acclaimed the most perfect example of its kind, and
innumerable commentaries in various languages have been
written upon it. The following version of its opening lines
serves to indicate the curiously conservative nature of Arabic
poetry, for they could have equally well introduced a typical
ode of pre-Islamic days:
What fond remembered friendship
At Dhu Salam thus sears
And flecks with blood thine eyeballs,
And wets thy cheeks with tears ?
Or blows the breeze at even
From Kazima the blest,
Or flames the sudden lightning
On Idam's darkened crest ?
What ails thine eyes that, bidden
To dam their flow, they pour ?
What ails thy heart that, bidden
To rest, it sorrows more ?
Bethinks the ardent lover
Love can be hidden so,
When eyes are bright with weeping,
And heart with fire doth glow ?
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